You Can Lead A Horse To Water And You Can Make It Drink
DJ Relentless with his views on the nightlife scene in Toronto. "There’s a whole world of adventures and new things to learn in the many lakes, rivers and oceans of life. And I’m going to to drink freely,"!
In this day and age of over stimulation and excessive technology, the average person living in a large city has too many choices of food, drink and where to spend their time. But the average person tends to be a creature of habit. They tend to eat at the same places. They send to order the same drinks. And they most definitely tend to go the same clubs. Why? Because of comfort in the knowledge that they know what to expect.
I remember back in 1980 for my 13th birthday my mother couldn’t afford to pay admission for our whole family to go to Disney World. So, she paid for my admission and gave me about $40 to buy tickets to ride the rides. Back then you had to buy a book of different coloured tickets that were lettered “A” through “E” in order to get on the rides. I remember the “A” tickets were the small kids’ rides and the “E” tickets were for the major attractions like Space Mountain. I was actually happy to go to the amusement park alone. This was an adventure. No mother to tell me not to run. No waiting for my little brother and his million and one bathroom trips. Just me....free to go wherever I wanted.
Now, the reason I am sharing this with you is to give you the idea of what I think of the nightlife scene in Toronto. The freedom that I had that day is the same freedom we all have in choosing what to do with our nights out on the town. I didn’t have very much money that day, but you can bet that I made the most out what I had. I saw every inch of Disney World that day and it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. And the same applies for you and your dollar when going out.
I’ve heard all kinds of complaints about every bar on the gay scene in the Toronto area. But the funny thing is that the same folks go to the same places even if they don’t like it. All in the hopes of being at the happening spot.
When I was still considered a twink, my friends and I lived for an empty dance floor. If there was a new DJ or a new party, we were there. We weren’t going to miss any new adventures. I watch the kids out now and they are so busy texting and grinding that they couldn't care less about what the party is and who is spinning. Toronto’s gay scene seems to be driven by who’s friends with who. If you’re a friend of the DJ’s or the drag performer then it’s okay to go to their party.
The reality is that there are many talented DJ’s and performers in Toronto. One who comes to mind is DJ San Fran. He’s an excellent House DJ. The problem is that only a handful actually get to work. It’s really hard to get opportunities when the promoters and bar owners are only hiring their friends. I have been very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, but there has been a glass ceiling.
"Coming from NYC, I kinda cringe when I hear folks here talking about “House Music”."
During Nuit Blanche I went over to CLUB 120 to see who was out and about. It’s such a great club space, but for some reason folks don’t like to come down to that end of Church Street. It’s probably the closest thing to an authentic NY club that Toronto has, but yet everyone stays as far as they can from it. Coming from NYC, I kinda cringe when I hear folks here talking about “House Music”. Mainly because what they call “House Music” isn’t even close. And if someone played some real “House Music” these kids would run from the floor. The majority want to hear Pop Music, not House Music. And they have been brainwashed into thinking that minimal vocals and electronic repetition is House.
It would be interesting if a group of friends all decided that they were going to make a bar out of their way “the new spot”. You have the power to do that, but social circles tend to limit you to the same ol’ thing. Wouldn’t it be novel if this group of friends decided to open their minds to a new experience. Listen to something that they never heard before. Dance to something completely the opposite of what they always do. And what if they left their phones in their pockets the entire time they were in the club or bar.
Looking at the scene today it makes me so happy that I came out and grew up when I did. I experienced collecting Disco records when I was 10 years old. I witnessed Michael Jackson, Madonna & Prince when they were new artists in the 80’s. I went through my dark and depressing moods with The Smiths, The Cure & Siouxsie & The Banshees in my High School years. All while sneaking out to gay bars and hearing “So Many Men, So Little Time”. I moved to NYC in the early 90’s and got the education of life! Dancing at the Limelight for parties like DISCO 2000. Hanging out with the cast of “Paris Is Burning” and even being inducted into The House of LaBeija. Watching the Miss $1.98 Pageant at Boy Bar in the East Village. And let’s not even talk about creating my alter-ego, Jade Elektra. These were wonderful times and the clubs and bars were full of energy. I watch the kids today and they seem like they are going through the motions. They’re too distracted to even notice that they aren’t having a good time.
As my good friend Mike Diamond says in his track, “Trust”.....”you’re so busy tryin’ to document the moment that you’re not even in it”.
New York City is just a shell of itself now. As empty as ever. With the rich getting richer and the poor getting nowhere, the days of everyone partying together are long gone. It’s all segregated and processed into this homogenous cheese which we are all supposed to buy as being the new and happening thang. So sad. People are like cattle. They just follow what the other cows do. Even if it leads them to the slaughter.
"I’m tired of seeing the same ol’ faces every week so it’s time for some new ones."
Well, I say we don’t have to do that. I say we can make our own choices and change our own destinies! And starting today, I’m going head across town to see what is going on. I’m tired of seeing the same ol’ faces every week so it’s time for some new ones. I am no longer going to settle for mediocre. If the DJ is tired at the spot I normally hang out I’m going to leave. And if I find a new spot, I’m going to support it. If I hear a new DJ that has something to say with his music, I’m going to tell my friends and I’m going to make it out to hear him again. It might not be every week, but I will let him know that I am a fan. I’m going to go listen instead of demanding what I want heard. That’s the only way I’m going to learn something new. And when a new party starts with a name I’m not familiar with, I’m going to check it out.
There’s a whole world of adventures and new things to learn in the many lakes, rivers and oceans of life. And I’m going to to drink freely!